Aussies 'Not Invincible'
I say that at the risk of sounding thoroughly clichéd, but I guess it nevertheless bears some repetition, especially in the face of the capitulation at Lord's. Worthies such as Messer’s Atherton and Boycott have sad something similar (what else do you expect from the those stodgy gentlemen?). Suddenly, it seemed as if the skies had come crashing down - blame the media hype, if you will, or whatever else you can, but the fact is, England were brought down with more than just a thud. But this much should be clear - this Australian side is not what it used to be. You can say that again. I can hear the howls of derision from Aussies only too eager to pile on the miseries on the Poms - Aussies who dismissed such talk with utter contempt even before their side set foot in Europe, and found echoes in the media-inspired sound bites from McGrath, Warne, Hayden et al. Nothing new there either - what else does one expect the Aussies to say, that England were the favourites? For all we know, they scoffed at such suggestions even when faced with the might of the West Indians in their pomp. Anyhow, the point is, let's just look at the last month or so in totality. England have lost as much as they have won - and that in itself is more than what many may have expected. To now say, on the face of one defeat, that the gap between Australia and England is as wide as ever, is little more than tripe. Yes, with McGrath and Warne around, some old frailties will be exposed. But that wasn't entirely unaccounted for, was it? The manner of defeat at Lord's was worrying, but England mostly lost the plot when they lost their intensity in the field in the second innings after starting so well. They seemed utterly deflated by McGrath's assault, but that's what it's supposed to be all about - combating adversity - isn't it? Pietersen showed stomach for a fight, and that is the key. England will perhaps never master Warne, but if they take him on, he may not the same bowler. I will say this again - in their minds, the Aussies were not as confident as they now sound after the first innings, and England let the game slip away from them when they were in with a real chance (that's not to suggest Australia had nothing to do with it!). No one knows what might have happened had Pietersen held on to that simple chance. - NK PS: For the first time since perhaps the 1992 WC final, I find myself supporting England! No prizes for guessing why I did that then, but this time I guess we've just had too much Australia for a long while now! It's time the world order was shaken up somewhat. Am I clutching at straws here?